1. Physiology and molecular biology of embryo development

The main objective of this program is to understand the physiological and molecular mechanisms governating in-vivo and in-vitro embryogenesis in both gymnosperms and angiosperms. Special attention is directed to the regulation of shoot and root apical meristems during embryo development. This project involves the integration of several disciplines including structure, physiology and metabolism, biochemistry, and molecular biology.

Ongoing work focuses on:
A. Characterization of apical meristem "marker genes" in both canola and spruce.
B. Alteration of antioxidant system during embryo development.
C. Changes in the pattern of nucleotide and nucleic acid metabolism during embryogenesis

Shoot apical meristem

Root apical meristem


2. In-vitro lignification of loblolly pine cells

This research program, which is a collaborative work with the Forest Biotechnology Group at NCSU, focuses on investigating cell wall metabolism during lignification of pine cultured cells. The use of metabolic and molecular studies will help understanding the regulation of lignin produced in-vitro, which is similar in composition to that produced in intact plants. Work has been carried out with lignin produced by wild type (WT) cultured cells and cells deficient of the last enzyme of the phenylpropanoid pathway: cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase (CAD).

Ongoing work focuses on:
A. Stress response mechanisms in WT and CAD cells
B. Differences in primary and secondary metabolism between WT and CAD cells
C. Nucleotide and nucleic acid metabolism during the lignification process

Lignified WT cells

Lignified CAD cells

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